A photograph of a rugby player breastfeeding her 13-week-old daughter on the sidelines in the middle of a game has garnered an enthusiastic response.
Emily Brierley from Bradford in Yorkshire, England, was subbed during a Stanningley Ladies rugby league game on June 13 to feed her baby, Arabella. After a six-month break from the sport she loves, owing to pregnancy, Brierley, 29, had been keen to return to the pitch.
“A lot of parents with young girls are saying how encouraging it is to see a woman playing rugby, and able to still get on with feeding and doing what she loves,” Brierley told BBC News, referring to the positive response she has received.
The photo, she reflected, has “opened up a lot of people’s minds” to the idea that breastfeeding in public spaces is both natural and acceptable.
Stanningley Ladies ARLC shared the photo on social media with Brierley’s consent, posting, “Just want to say how proud we are of one of our players … in between the game, Emily came off as a sub and squeezed in a quick feed before going back on the field.”
Despite wanting to return to rugby training just days after giving birth to Arabella, Brierley confirmed that she waited for her coach and doctor’s go-ahead. And when she was finally given that go-ahead, she was straight back to training the very next day, and trained for a couple of weeks before the game.
Her first league game, she said, was “absolutely amazing, it all came back and felt like home again.”
The mom of two, who also has a 9-year-old daughter named Scarlett, was touched by the “unbelievable” response from netizens after her sweet moment with Arabella was snapped and shared online.
“As breastfeeding alone can be tiring, to be doing part way through playing a game of rugby, well done Emily. I salute you,” wrote one fellow mom and Facebook user.
“It’s not an easy thing to do,” wrote another, adding, “I’ve recently had a baby too! Kudos to you, women are unreal!”